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Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 22nd is Earth Day!

earth day pic 1

Earth Day began on April 22nd, 1970, and is credited with starting the environmental movement we have today.

There are so many ways to celebrate Earth Day and to develop appreciation and respect for our planet. Let’s take a look at what the Alameda County Library has going on for Earth Day!

As you know, there’s a book for everything! Check out some children’s books from the library on Earth Day.

earth book

If your child is interested in science or, more specifically, earth science, check out the Alameda County Library STEM guide. There are so many great resources! Study Jams is a site that focuses on earth science for kids, ZOOMsci has a section on life science, and the Lawrence Hall of Science has an activity that helps kids understand oil spills, just to name just a few.

We also have free events celebrating Earth Day (that last far into the month of May) – If you haven’t seen it yet, Uncle Jer’s Traveling Bee Show is something you don’t want to miss! Shows are coming next to Irvington, Castro Valley and Dublin. These all-ages shows are informative, fun and delicious. Their website also has information on bees and their environment. Go for the show, stay for the honey stick!


Is your child a tinkerer? Consider crafts and activities that use recyclables. Tinkerlab shows 50 activities that you and your family can do together. If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider this video from the University of Maine on composting in your own home — using worms!

In closing, Peppa Pig will tell us about recycling. Enjoy all, and have a lovely Earth Day!

National Library Week = “Unlimited possibilities @ your library®.”

Where can I learn and think and read?

Is there such a place for me?

Why, yes there is! Yes, indeed!

The one, the only, the Library!

One of our wonderful library clerks, Jesus Romero, crafted this poem in honor of the week, because this week is National Library Week!

What is National Library Week, you ask? The American Library Association states that since 1958, “National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.” This week National Library Week is April 12th-18th. The theme is “Unlimited possibilities @ your library®.”

What better way to celebrate National Library Week than by visiting your local library branch and exploring all it has to offer. Or check out the Alameda County Library’s Calendar of Events. There are so many programs and services to choose from – and all for free!

One of the special days celebrated during National Library Week is National Bookmobile Day, on April 15th. In celebration of the day, the Alameda County Library Bookmobile created a wonderful video showing what they do and the impact they have on our community. Check it out here:

What does your library mean to you? Library Quotes has created a database of quotes from authors, celebrities, politicians, and many others who have expressed their love of libraries. See a quote you like? Made up your own? Tell your local librarian, and spread the library love!

Shel Silverstein : Poet for all ages

Do you remember the poetry books A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein?

I remember looking through both books as a kid and laughing out loud at the poems within. I was recently given a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I’ve found myself flipping through the book before starting my day, picking poems at random, and once again laughing out loud.

A Light in the Attic cover.jpg          where-the-sidewalk-ends-shared-picture-166962978

Silverstein (1930-1999) was a prolific poet, children’s book author, song-writer, playwright, and cartoonist who appeals to children and adults alike. Check out Silverstein’s website for information about his books, free downloads, games and videos!

What is your favorite Silverstein poem? Here is one of mine:

Happy reading! Happy listening!

April is National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month!

Founded in April 1996, National Poetry Month is a worldwide celebration of poets and poetry.

This is a great time to introduce poetry to your kids, or to discover a new poet or poem for yourself. How are you celebrating National Poetry Month?

Here are some fun ideas for kids and adults alike:

1. Have a poetry race! How fast can you say a poem that’s also a tongue twister?

      Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
      A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
      If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
      How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?

More tongue twister poems can be found here, and here, and here.

2. Have your own poetry reading! 

Find poetry books at your local library or online – Alameda County Library has many ebooks and audiobooks of poetry – and use them for inspiration to write your own poems. Then host a reading for your family and friends. [In my very humble opinion, providing snacks at a reading is a must.]

3. Create a POETREE!

– Make a tree from paper and hang it on the wall. Make some paper leaves at least as big as your hand

– write a poem on a leaf, and tape it to the poetree

– admire your creation!

For example, you can visit and add your poem to San Lorenzo Library’s Poetree, which is starting to “bloom.”


4. And for those who might not be big-time poetry fans…consider giving a poem a try!

Poems are as diverse as snowflakes — There truly is something for everyone! Here are just a few topics for kids (click on the links):

Dinosaurs; funny poemsanimals; food; presidents; nursery rhymes; more funny poems; haiku

…Did I hear you say you want more? Check out our library catalog, The Academy of American Poets, or the Poetry Foundation, or just contact the library for more information.  I bet that there is a poem for just about anything you can think about.

For example, take a look at this video of Ken Nesbitt’s humorous kid’s poem My Parents Sent Me To the Store

5. And above all else – enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Poems can be inspiring, mind-bending, and full of feeling. They can validate our experiences and be windows into others. Taking the time to read or listen to a poem can be a contemplative break in your busy day, or what makes you laugh throughout the day. Enjoy them!

Art Is Education – Observation

Observation is another tip for creating visual art.  Detail-oriented people will usually notice a lot of things other people won’t, which will enhance their ability to learn, imitate, or create.

Let’s test your powers of observation:

There are 9 people in this painting.  Can you find all of them?

Nine Faces


Try your best to figure it out and scroll down for the answer.  (DO NOT PEEK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


#1: Obviously, the big bald head

#2: The old man on the big bald head’s face

#3 and #4:  The woman holding a baby


Now the harder part:

#5 and #6: two faces, one front and one profile, between the black bird and the left edge of the painting

#7 and #8: two profile faces, one on top the other, to the right of the black bird

#9: another profile facing the right edge of the painting on the pillar

Did you get them all???



Art & Science in Education

boy_binocularsIt’s spring — and the grass is still green outside the Fremont Main (so far).
We have observed migratory birds flying north in the past month. Today there was a huge rainbow spanning the East Bay/Oakland area :) after the tiny bit of rain we had last night.

All sorts of new life is popping up — kids come up with great questions about the “seed in the cup” and the ducklings and other baby animals they  may see if they play in the park or on a daily walk.

AND It’s a chance to learn more about observation — how the carefully planted seed changes day to day and week to week, or how to observe birds and other animals in their natural habitat.plover_mar2015

Next Monday, March 30 @7pm we have a chance for a Science & Art Night at the Fremont Main Library,girl painting
presented by the SF Bird Observatory! There will be opportunities for creativity, such as building a bird nest,
learning to sketch as we observe, and other activities. Register by phoning the Fremont Children’s Room, 510-745-1421.

Join us for this event and other science and enviornment events as we continue through spring — look for our Earth Day events in April & May.

sock creatures_googleAND Don’t forget. There are a few more opportunities to participate in other special art projects.

Create a Family Book at Fremont/Niles (March 24) or Albany (March 28).
Make Sock Creatures (for Tweens) at the Irvington Library April 8.

Take an opportunity if you visit Newark Library to look at the Houses of Creativity and add your house to the landscape!house_creativity

Picture Book Illustrations

Illustration is one of my favorite forms of art. I loved to draw and paint as a child and always enjoyed looking for inspiration in the vibrant colors and images of children’s picture book illustrations. If you have ever wondered how illustrations come to be, take a look at the videos below. They feature three different children’s book illustrators.

Pastel Illustration by Lynne Chapman

Watercolor Painting by Alicia Padron

Illustration by Mark Buhner

If you’d like to try your hand at painting pastels and watercolors, take a look at what the library has to offer here:

Pastel Painting Books

Watercolor Painting Books

We also have books about sketching, drawing, and cartooning. You can see what the library has here:

Sketching Books

Drawing Books

Cartooning Books

If you want to try to write and illustrate your own story, you can start with these story writing games:

Scholastic Story Starters

PBS Kids: Dot’s Story Factory


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